Apple didn’t end the company’s fall event with a signature “one more thing” announcement. Nonetheless, by ending the program with the unveiling of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Cupertino made it clear that its priorities haven’t changed. The iPhone remains Apple’s most important product, despite the hype surrounding the new iPad Pro and Apple TV.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
Few were expecting much from this year’s iPhone lineup, besides a camera upgrade and minor improvements under the hood. Big iPhone changes typically are left for handsets launched in even years. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, however, are the exception.
Apple explains that with the 2015 iPhone lineup “the only thing that’s changed is everything.” That sounds about right.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus are the first to include 3D Touch, which is a variant of the Force Touch feature found on the Apple Watch. We knew something like this was coming, but knowing and seeing are entirely different.
With 3D Touch, Apple has reinvented how we can interact with our iPhone. Multi-touch gestures like Tap, Swipe, and Pinch have now been joined by Peek and Pop, bringing a brand new “dimension of functionality to the iPhone experience.”
I was also impressed with the new Live Photos feature found on the devices. This could fast become the way many of us choose to relive our favorite memories.
The most far-reaching iPhone announcement on Wednesday had little to do with the new handsets. Apple’s new iPhone Upgrade Program, which allows you to get a new handset each year, could guarantee record or near-record iPhone sales for many years to come.
Odds and ends about Apple’s fall event
The iPad Pro looks impressive, but I’m not convinced it will slow the iPad line’s steady sales decline, at least in the long-term. Nonetheless, the device is positioned to make itself heard in the design and medical community, and that’s very important. Couple that with Apple’s commitments with IBM, and you can see where this is going.
I’m expecting the fourth-generation Apple TV to be a huge hit for Cupertino, especially during the holiday shopping season. Yes, at $149/$199, the device costs more than other video streaming devices on the market, including the top-of-the-line Roku 3, and year-old Fire TV. However, the new Apple TV costs much less than the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and this fact is a big deal.
Before this week, it looked like the new Apple TV unveiling would be a ho-hum affair, at best, since Apple has yet to secure video streaming rights with the bigwigs in Hollywood.
But, by introducing apps for its “hobby device,” Cupertino has shown that the company’s plans for Apple TV extend beyond video. Gaming, we now know, is also an important component in that vision.
Apple TV games aren’t going to be as epic as the ones made for existing gaming consoles. They also aren’t going to be nearly as expensive. As the App Store has proven, however, those in-app purchases add up and could prove lucrative to developers.
Finally, a word about Apple Watch. The new bands and colors announced this week show that Cupertino is taking a steady approach when it comes to its first wearable device. Rather than release an “Apple Watch 2,” the company has made the existing device appealing to more users.
Now, for example, for as little as $349, you too can own a gold or rose gold (aluminum) Apple Watch. For around $1,000, you can transform your Apple Watch Sport or Apple Watch into a luxury device thanks to Cupertino’s new leather band arrangement with Hermès. Compared to the cost for an Apple Watch Edition model, this is a steal.
Overall, I believe Apple put on a great show. It contained a lot of information but didn’t feel all the long in my book. It will be great to see these new goodies arriving in stores over the coming months.